Publication date: Oct 01, 2023
This study aims to introduce a new model of antenatal/postnatal care that integrates virtual clinics with the current model of care, including a discussion on the current model, pre-existing barriers, and prenatal framework, and the need for transition to telehealth beyond the pandemic. In antenatal primary health care centers, such as King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), low-risk antenatal/postnatal care receives clinical care through complete physical attendance in antenatal/postnatal clinics in primary care clinics for pregnancy follow-up and in tertiary hospitals for fetal ultrasound and invasive procedures if needed. Pregnancy is confirmed through a regular family medicine (FM) clinic where risk assessment through history, physical examination, and investigations are carried out. If the pregnant woman is at low risk, she will be started on folic acid, 1 mg or 5 mg based on the risk assessment (if it was not received before). Pregnant women will be given a telehealth appointment for the lab results. Concomitantly, the pregnant women will receive an appointment in the antenatal clinics, which board-certified family physicians run. High-risk patients will be referred to the hospital for further care. Current postnatal care is delivered through regular booking with the FM clinic through physical attendance sometimes, and virtual care is provided upon physican/patient request. Current care meets the past quality care and patient expectations. However, with the current Saudi Vision 2030 and after the experience with virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current services need to move a step forward to meet the rapidly developing medical care/needs in Saudi Arabia. Various challenges must be addressed, and new models must be included in clinical care for pregnant and postnatal women. Introducing virtual antenatal/postnatal care to the current care could be a new era in maternity primary health care; this model will move the clinical care provided to pregnant/postnatal women a step forward that meets the excellence of high-quality, evidence-based medical care.
|model of care